Managing sickness absence
...and encouraging attendance
Welcome to our guide
This guide sets out a comprehensive and sustainable system for managing sickness absence and promoting attendance in Wales' public services.
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The management of sickness absence is an important topic for every public service organisation in Wales, given that they all rely on the contribution of staff for the consistent delivery of high quality services. Many organisations are already taking some action to promote better attendance. In this guidance and in our wider work we seek to identify, evaluate and facilitate the transfer of good practice within and between sectors.
Your organisation will be likely to benefit from adopting any of the approaches outlined in the guide, but the greatest benefits will only arise if the whole system is taken on. The one simple 'prescription' is that this is a significant issue of governance which should be taken up at the highest levels. Before considering any action, we recommend you make use of the checklists and oganisation profiling tool, to identify your priorities.
While of course it is inevitable that people suffer illness, it is also clear that:
As around 23% of the people at work in Wales are employed in public services, a positive impact on health promotion within those workforces could also have a positive impact on the well-being of the nation. The long-term benefit of health promotion across this workforce is fully detailed in the Welsh Assembly Government 'Corporate Health Standard'.
Did you know?
The benefit of reducing the average number of days lost each year in the Welsh public sector by only one, is the equivalent of a cash injection of £27 million to the public services in Wales. This can be achieved purely through obtaining a day's work from staff who are already being paid.
Reducing the average number of days lost per year by only one, would generate an additional contribution of:
The overall reduction would equal an additional 1,000 full time staff.
The cost of covering absence to maintain essential services may also appear as overtime, locum, supply or agency fees. Not only does this duplicate the money already being paid as sick pay, it carries significant premia so that one day's absence costs up to 240% of the basic employment cost where the budget is geared to 100%.
If you would like more information on this project or our good practice exchange, please contact Chris Bolton, Good Practice Project Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This good practice guide on sustainable sickness absence management has been developed as part of our wider good practice project and our work to support 'Making the Connections'. It is provided for all public sector organisations in Wales as general guidance and reference material. All advice, material and case studies in this guidance from various sources have been supplied to the Wales Audit Office with the formal consent of authorised parties. This guidance is intended for assistance purposes only and the Wales Audit Office accepts no responsibility to any third party in respect of claims, liabilities, loss or damage suffered as a result of their having relied on information contained in this guidance.